Here is a recent post I made on a blog I contribute to – it is titled, “Self-Reliance: A Catastrophic Deception.”
The other day I was perusing through a book of Puritan prayers & devotions, called The Valley of Vision. I would highly recommend the owning of this book. The prayers are so deep and the language used is incomparable!
I came across the following prayer, dealing with penitence and deprecation:
Reliance, p. 176
When thou art angry towards me for my wrongs
I try to pacify thee by abstaining from future sin;
But teach me that I cannot satisfy thy law,
that this effort is a resting in my righteousness,
that only Christ’s righteousness, ready made, already finished, is fit for that purpose;
that thy chastising me for my sin is not that I should try to reform, but only
that I may be more humbled, afflicted, and separated from sin, by being reconciled,
and made righteous in Christ by faith;
that a sense of my sufficiency and ability in him is one means of my being immovable;
that I can never be so by resting on my own faith, but by trusting in thee as my only support, by faith;
that if I cast away my faith I cast away thee, for by faith I apprehend thee,
and as thou art very precious, so is my faith very precious to me;
that I fall short of the purity thou requirest, because in thinking I am holy I do not
seek holiness, or, believing I am impotent, I do no more.
Humble me for not being as holy as I should be, or as holy as I might be through Christ,
for thou art all, and to possess thee is to possess all.
But to make the creature something is to make it stand between thee and me,
so that I do not walk humbly and holily.
Lord, forgive me for this.”
As I read this, I realized how much this reflected my own attitude toward sin and repentance. I can definitely say that I fail to live up to God’s perfect standard of holiness, found in His Son, Jesus Christ! I can also say that many of my failings have resulted from the attitude of self-reliance mentioned in this prayer.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”
1 Peter 1:14-16
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.“
1 Peter 2:24-25
And I think one of the best passages to describe this prayer is found in the blog’s theme chapter:
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.“
Other verses that come to mind – Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 1:9.
jazz hands:10/23/07 from safeguard4u blog